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Local author from Harrow uncovers untold Caribbean history in new book

A compelling and significant book exploring Caribbean and Windrush history has been released by a local author from Harrow.

Titled ‘Song for my Father: A West Indian Journey,’ by Brian Samuel, delves into the experiences of the author’s family and their collective journey through the period from 1940 to 1975. Filled with original photographs, documents, and diaries spanning three generations, the book offers a unique perspective on an important era.

Samuel, who grew up in Harrow on Camplin Road in Kenton, hopes that local residents will take an interest in reviewing his new literary endeavour. ‘Song for my Father’ has been published by Ian Randle Publishers in Jamaica and has already received rave reviews since its launch at the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad this past April.

Local author from Harrow uncovers untold Caribbean history in new book Harrow Online
With Dad

The author’s father, Darwin Fitzgerald ‘Gerry’ Samuel, played a remarkable role in their family’s history. He was a teacher at St. George’s RC School in Maida Vale before the family moved to Kenton in 1963. Initially, they faced challenges as a single-father black family, but over time, they embraced the community of Kenton.

Brian Samuel attended St. Thomas’ RC School in Canons Park, which no longer stands, and later transferred to Harrow (now Stanmore) Junior College, the first-ever sixth-form college in England.

In 1966/67, their father’s adventurous spirit led the family to the United States for a year. There, he taught as an exchange teacher in a small town near Chicago. The family had the opportunity to visit New York, meet President Lyndon Johnson at the White House, witness race riots, and eventually returned to Kenton.

The author’s life took an unexpected turn at the age of 18 when they embarked on a completely different trajectory: Jamaica. Intriguingly, the author leaves the plot details to be discovered within the pages of their book, inviting readers to join them on this transformative journey.

The launch of ‘Song for my Father: A West Indian Journey’ at the Bocas Literary Festival in Trinidad in April 2023 was met with resounding acclaim. The book, which celebrates the life of Samuels’s father, pays homage to him and the countless unsung fathers who have nurtured and supported Caribbean men and women throughout history.

Local author from Harrow uncovers untold Caribbean history in new book Harrow Online
The old days in Kenton.

Darwin Fitzgerald ‘Gerry’ Samuel, was an exceptional individual—a teacher, seeker, writer, diarist, and lifelong nomad. In 1942, amidst the depths of World War Two, he left his native Grenada for England to work in the armaments industry. He played a crucial role in building Lancaster Bombers at the Metrovicks factory in Manchester, which was a prime target for the Luftwaffe. Surviving the war, he became a qualified metalwork and technical drawing teacher and married Helen Hogan, a Scottish nurse.

However, their marriage did not last, and it was their mother who left the family, leaving their Grenadian father to assume the heroic role of a single parent. While unprepared for this sudden change, their father never wavered in his commitment to his children and took them on an extraordinary journey—from the hills of Grenada to the outskirts of London, meeting President Lyndon Johnson at the White House, visiting Buckingham Palace, and beyond.

Their story stands apart from the conventional Windrush Generation narrative, as their journey continued long after disembarking from the boat in Liverpool.

Local author from Harrow uncovers untold Caribbean history in new book Harrow Online
Southern Cross in Liverpool.

When their father unexpectedly passed away in 1975, the author’s world shattered. The loss prompted a search for answers, including the whereabouts of their mother. Two weeks later, as the author and their brother stood before her in Nassau, no recognition flickered on her face, revealing unexpected and profound discoveries.

The writing process for ‘Song for my Father: A West Indian Journey’ was a ten-year labour of love, a heartfelt tribute not only to Samuel’s father but also to the countless fathers who have fulfilled both parental roles for Caribbean individuals.

Local author from Harrow uncovers untold Caribbean history in new book Harrow Online
Styling and profiling.

The book is available in paperback or Kindle format from Ian Randle Publishing, as well as through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It offers an intimate and eye-opening perspective on Caribbean and Windrush history, inviting readers to connect with the author’s personal experiences and their family’s captivating story.

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